Spotters are often needed during the back squat because many lifters just don't have experience dumping the bar. Squatting down with a heavy weight and realizing you don't have the strength to stand back up can be a frightening and potentially dangerous situation, especially if you don't have safety racks ready.
Good Communication First
- Make sure you ask how many reps the lifter is going for so you're ready to assist when needed.
- Make sure you communicate that you'll be standing close and will under-hook their arms and help them stand back up if needed. This is especially important to mention if you're a male spotting a female.
The Do's of Spotting the Squat
- Do make sure you're standing very close to the person you're spotting. Although this looks awkward, you need to be there should you see the person start to fail.
- Do use a double-under hook under the arms to keep the lifter's chest upright should he start to fail.
- Do maintain a strong flat back and use your hips to help the lifter back to a standing position. There's no way you're going to pull the lifter back up with your biceps alone.
- Do offer assistance when the bar comes to a complete stop and the lifter starts to drop back down. Make sure you're using just enough assistance to get them past the sticking point.
The Don'ts of Spotting the Squat
- Don't have your junk against the lifters butt for the entire duration of the set. You should be close, but this shouldn't look like you're grinding at the club.
- Don't try to grab the bar when offering assistance. If the person you're spotting is lifting an appreciable amount of weight this isn't a good way to help him if he begins to struggle.
- Don't assist before you're needed. That's annoying and ruins the set.
- Don't stand so far back that you won't be able to offer assistance.